INVESTIGATING THE REASONS MIDDLE CLASS AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILIES IN A LARGE SUBURBAN SCHOOL DISTRICT OPT OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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School choice is widely studied in educational literature. The primary focus of this literature, however, is centered around the choices that families of minority students from low socioeconomic status make to attend charter schools or that of affluent white families choosing competitive private and parochial schools. The dearth of research on middle class and affluent African American families’ choice of alternatives to their neighborhood public schools is the focus of this dissertation. Through this dissertation, I explore the indicators informing their choice of private schools as alternatives to their neighborhood schools as well as the influences of social networks on both their decision to opt out of the public schools and the choice of specific private schools both outside and inside their respective communities.